Residents of Orlando, Florida will soon be able to benefit from a community-owned solar garden run by the area's municipal electricity provider. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) is hoping to entice enough participants to be able to offer constituents the chance to lock in their power rates for up to 25 years.
Officials from the OUC say that it is an enormously positive experience to be pursuing the solar garden, which is a concept that has been growing in popularity for the past several years. Towns and cities in states like Colorado, California and Texas have been adopting this measure as a practical way to expand the use of solar power sources.
People invest in panels and pay a predetermined fee, while the OUC would take care of maintaining the array. A spokesman for the organization, speaking with the newspaper, argued that this method is one of the cheapest ways to benefit from clean renewable energy.
"If you want to do solar, this is the cheapest way to do it," Tim Trudell of the OUC said.
The OUC is offering power from its garden for approximately 13 cents per kilowatt hour, which is modestly cheaper than fossil fuel sources. To help sweeten the deal, the association is offering a $50 optional-rebate deposit for those who stay in the program for longer than two years.
While the solar garden has yet to be built, the Sentinel reported that work is already underway to secure funding. A federal grant will provide some of the $1.2 million needed to design and build the array, while another portion will come from private investors. With luck, this network of solar panels will be successful, and the development could pave the way for future projects that provide similar benefits.